Wednesday, January 15, 2014

[Urbis] Locations of the Cold Frontier - The Trade Outpost, Part II

Continued from Part I.

One location found within the palisades of the Trade Outpost is a small shrine to Bucatar maintained by one Julius Kraus, formerly of the Nordwacht-Tempel in Nimdenthal. He is fairly old - 73 now - but like many priests of Bucatar refused a "comfortable" retirement but desired to live out his last years on the frontier. He is quite powerful - capable of casting ressurrection if needed (he has enough components for one casting of the spell under lock in a hidden compartment below the shrine), but rarely present as he constantly walks a circuit between the various miners and prospectors in the area. He suspects something is going on with all the disappearances as of late, and if he learns of the Wendigo Cult he will investigate - which will possibly kill him. He isn't at the Trade Outpost when the PCs arrive, but will become a strong supporter of their mission once he learns of it.

I've also mentioned a second prostitute working in the Trade Outpost. Her name is Mary (also in her late 20s), and she is rather more manipulative than Tessa, picking out people who she thinks are more likely to strike it rich or become famous and playing favorites. However, she also seems to have some upper class education (possibly from working as a maid for a patrician's family) and strives to bring a touch of class to the place, reacting negatively to swearing, drunkenness and the like. She has a sideline as a seamstress, fixing torn clothing for the prospectors and trappers.

We also need a bartender for the bar. This is Gustav Grollbergen, a relatively young gnome who claims that he came to Nardhome in the search of adventure. He is always smiling and always talkactive about the rumors, but there is something... off about him, and he gives an impression about being just a little bit too nosy and a little bit too oily. He is, in fact, an agent of the famous gnomish Guldenberg Family (the owners of the Gemeinschaftsbank, the most powerful financial institution in the Known Lands). He has been told that a very important but undefined opportunity will develop in Nardhome sometime in the next few years and that he is supposed to report on anything unusual (the Guldenberg family has determined this via oracles and divinations they have access to, but Gustav knows all about "need to know"). He has good training in espionage skills as well as some wizardly training to assist him with his intelligence gathering. Since he doesn't know what he is looking for, he pays attention to everything.

When the PCs arrive, there is also a Coastal Tribe native named Pale Beaver. When the PCs enter the pub part of the Trade Outpost, he is currently passed out from drinking too much. He enjoys visiting the Trade Outpost during his hunting trips, drinking alcohol, eating the strange food, and spending time with the foreign women (as giving gifts to a woman if you are a guest in her house is customary, he sees nothing wrong with "paying" the prostitutes for spending time with them, and since he is polite and well-behaved he is a favorite among them). He also annoys Factor Byrne by constantly referring him as a woman, as Byrne "owns a house and stays at home. He does the same to Gorog (mildly annoyed), Madug (takes it in stride, since humans all have weird ideas about the supposed roles of men and women anyway), and Gustav (who keeps his opinions to himself), but not Jacob since Jacob frequently leaves the Outpost on hunting trips and is therefore obviously male. If approached in a friendly manner, he will gladly explain the basics of Coastal Tribe culture and may be amenable to being hired as a native guide for a time. He will insist in payment in metal tools, such as knives, metal arrow tips and so forth - he is familiar with money, but claims that Byrne doesn't give him as much for the money as he gives others (which is true).

There is also a shed maintained by Jacob Krol, the secret cannibal and Wendigo Cultist, where he keeps his taxidermy equipment as well as several stuffed animals he has prepared. It is free of any Suspicious Clues - Krol hasn't avoided discovery for so long by being sloppy in his crimes.

The area is also haunted - on the anniversaries (17th of Kort, in late summer) of the grisly drowning of the many villagers, the scene described in the previous post will replay itself. The villagers who were killed are visible as ghostly apparitions, though the rope/tongue or whatever it was that they were stuck to isn't.

Beyond that, let's go once again for the Random Nations Generator for further inspiration. Among the Major Personalities we get Alexis Carrel, a Noble-Prize winning biologist who was also very fond of eugenics, proposing gas chambers to dispose of the criminally, mentally, and biologically defective and suggesting that humanity be led by an "intellectual and hereditary biological aristocracy" who rigorously implemented eugenics (he had very kind words to say about the Nazis when they came to power). In Urbis terms, let's make that Carolus Ashton, a human wizard from Dartmouth who travels the Cold Frontier for biological specimins for his own research, accompanied by two assistants (both experienced hunters). He is especially interested in exotic animals of the region and will pay high prices for live or fresh speciment such as the snallygaster (500 sp), sasquatch (800 sp - not actually an animal, but he doesn't care), decapus (500 sp), and gryph (500 sp), with prices for other exotic animals being negotiable. He stresses that if the animals are slain they need to be kept cold or otherwise protected from decomposition, as rotted specimens are less valuable. It is fairly easy to negotiate a higher price if he is presented with a good specimin. He has rented his own shed where he dissects (or vivisects) specimens, keeps notes, and stores samples (within magically created ice which he renews whenever he visits). Not surprisingly, he is also a worshiper of Nyros, which does not exactly make him a pleasant person. He dismisses the Coastal Tribes as "inferior stock of humanity" and regards the Inland Tribes as "inbred throwbacks", though he won't go out of his way to act against either of them.

Most of the other results of the generator aren't really applicable for the Outpost, but one interesting result is Stack (Geology) - rock columns located just offshore. I think that's a great place for our zuvembie out for revenge against Jacob Krul to make its last stand - it can sing its song and all who hear it and fail their Will rolls must walk to her and possibly drown in the ocean.

I think that about wraps it up - so all that's left is to draw a map of the place!

Note: A list of all Urbis-related posts can be found here.

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